Skip Discover Education Main Navigation
Skip Discover Education Main Navigation

Browse the Brain Boosters Gallery


What a Genius! Or What? A Genius?
Q "It seems that all great geniuses have terrible handwriting," said Ralph, looking at a photograph of Albert Einstein's signature.

"Hey," thought Wanda to herself, "my teachers are always complaining that they can't read my handwriting. If all geniuses have terrible handwriting, I must be a genius!"

What do you think? Is Wanda really a genius? If not, what is wrong with her reasoning?

A From the way Wanda uses logic, she's definitely not a genius. The fact that Individual A shares one characteristic of a group of individuals does not logically imply that Individual A is a member of that group.

Think of it this way. If Ralph had said, "All whales are good swimmers," Wanda would probably not have thought to herself, "Hey, I've always been a good swimmer. I must be a whale!" On the other hand, if Ralph had said, "All good swimmers are whales," Wanda would have had to assume either that she really was a whale or that Ralphie's statement was false.